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Opinion | Where Have All The Vegetables Been?

Reading The New Tanner these past few weeks, I saw an article and a “Letter to the Editor” titled “Where have all the flowers gone?” discussing about downtown and its lack of beautification this year. While I think it honourable to have pride in one's town, I think this also illustrates a much deeper problem in our society, we are often more concerned with looks and the exterior, then we are with the reality of the interior. If you look to psychology there is a theory called “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”, created by Abraham Maslow, an American Jewish psychologist in 1943. The premises of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is to articulate human needs in developmental psychology. This is illustrated by a five step pyramid, starting at the bottom of our physiological needs, raising to the top of self actualization, and our psychological and/or spiritual or self fulfillment needs. (See Image Below). The idea of the pyramid is to display the need to obtain the lower parts of the pyramid (basic needs), before one can progress to the top of the pyramid (Psychological, spiritual and self fulfillment needs). I think this is something that people who have reached "self actualization" often forget, that not all of us are “there” yet. Due to us forgetting this, we often try to accomplish societal goals, “ass backwards”. But isn’t your ass always backwards? anyways… We are trying to get people to think about climate change, or veganism, or politics, or volunteering, or shopping local, or “making something of themselves” or “reaching their full potential” or whatever “higher calling” we can think of, when a lot of people are worried about feeding themselves or their family, or having shelter over their head, and thus have not even reached the very first step of the pyramid, their basic needs. People will often clean their house before someone comes over, but, are we cleaning our house? or are we messing up a landfill? We will cut our front lawn and worry about our neighbours perception of us out front of the house, but inside the house have loads of problems that we often don’t worry about fixing. We will put our “best foot forward” on social media, showing all of our victories, vacations, and smiling faces, even though on the inside we are facing depression, anxiety and loneliness. We will put on make up, (not me for the record), even though it is that very make up that is the cause of our acne. What happens when the landfill gets so big that it spills into our house? or when the acne is too visible that make up won’t cover it anymore? or when the problems inside our house are too much that they spill out onto our front lawn? We need to first fix society’s real problems before we should be worrying about all these “extras”. We have people in Halton Hills who are homeless, people who are hungry and people who need medicine for their basic survival. These people do not give a crap about veganism, climate change, politics, philosophy and certainly not flowers. They care about fulfilling their basic needs, and that as a society should be our primary goal, fulfilling basic needs. People are not going to pay to shop local when they can barely afford to shop at Walmart. Going back to front lawns for a minute… really, what is their purpose? Sure if you have kids it gives them a spot to play, but a lot of people don’t have kids (who are children anymore at least), so what purpose does it serve other than “keeping up with the Jones' " and giving you one or two neighbours on your street to complain about because “they don’t maintain their property”. The fact is, in a world where we are increasingly worried about space and overpopulation, yet front lawns are wasted space. There could be small shelters on them or there could be vegetable gardens, or at least something with more substance than "looking nice". We could have gardens everywhere where anyone can just walk by and take free food. We have so much empty space in building that absolutely no one should be homeless. We waste eight times the amount of food we produce, and I would bet we waste at least eight times the amount of space we have. I know Canada’s climate is cold and we are unable to grow food all year, but think if even half of yours and your family's food budget was covered for the year, how much better off would you be? and in reality we could always store food for the other half of the year. And the same goes for our planters Downtown, they could have vegetables and fruits free for anyone to pick. Maybe this would attract people to Downtown, or maybe this would deter people from buying food in local stores. But one thing is for sure, if these people are hungry, they are not going to care about anything other than food. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate flowers, they smell nice, they make me happy, and they are also medicine (even though the majority of people do not use them for that purpose). But really beautification of any type is just a mask or make up for a deeper problem, and our primary problems in society and our community is there is people who are hungry, homeless and need necessities to survive. We need to make radical changes in our society and our community or some of us are not going to make it. You need a solid foundation in order to build UP. We can put this nicest exterior or roof on a house, but without a solid foundation, the exterior will just crumble with the rest of the house. There’s a saying that “you are only as strong as your weakest link.” So if everyone in our community doesn’t make it, then do we really make it? So while some people are asking “where have all the flowers gone?”, I am simply asking “Where have all the vegetables been?”





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